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Gregory keen to control destiny, Coppell playing game of deception


Its a cricial game for both teams in the race for the playoffs.

Chennaiyin FC host Jamshedpur FC in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2017-18 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on Sunday. The 2015 champions are currently sitting third in the league table and come off the back of a hard-earned 1 – 0 success over FC Goa in their previous encounter. A win would take them to second, with a confirmed playoff berth almost to their name.

On the eve of Sunday’s first clash, addressing the media in the pre-match press conference was their head coach John Gregory. Regarding the formation he would use for the crucial match-up, the Englishman said, “We don’t really change our formation too much. It usually tends to be the same. We adopt the same plan and attitude on the field. We play one striker Jeje (Lalpekhlua) and two wide wingers. We just make some changes in personnel from time to time. Different teams present different kind of problems and you can’t always be aware of the type of opposition you play against.”

He also acknowledged the fact that their opponents were a tough team to encounter and Chennaiyin were bracing themselves for the challenge. “Jamshedpur is a slightly different team and they have players that give incredible effort,” Gregory stated. “Steve (Coppell) has managed to get unbelievable performances out of that team and when you play with Steve you have to give a hundred percent effort. It’s the number one requirement, and the players know that every time they step on the field for Jamshedpur. They never let the opposition rest and work exceptionally hard from the first minute. So, we know it is going to be a tough game for us and we have to be at our best.”

The 63-year-old also maintained that the mood was jovial in the dressing room as the players geared up for the clash. “It’s a very happy camp, a very happy dressing room,” he revealed. “They enjoyed the journey back from Goa and the team is in fantastic spirits. They are training every day. We try different things to change the monotony in the training ground; all the kind of things that give us freshness.”

Before concluding, Gregory also highlighted that at present his team had their fate in their own hands. “We find ourselves in a situation where everything is in our hands,” he remarked. “We got games coming our way and we need to win our matches to get into the playoffs. So, it’s in our hands and we are not relying on any teams but ourselves. We got three matches left and we want to win all three.”

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Addressing the media during the pre-match press conference was their head coach Steve Coppell, who explained his strategy going into games this season. “We work very hard on our defending, but it’s not our priority,” he stated.  “If you look at our training sessions, we spend as much time attacking as we spend defending. We want to attack teams as much as possible. Our main strategy is to be as deceptive as possible, where we can change and try and incorporate any strategy.”

Asked about any difficulties he faced during the course of the season, the 62-year-old replied, “I had said right from the start of the season that scheduling would be one of the most important factors to be successful. During various times in the season, we had seven, eight or nine days off and then we have just come back for four games in 10 days. I don’t think that is right. I think you should schedule things in a way that all the teams play every four, five or six games. I think that’s perfect!”

The Englishman concluded by sharing his thoughts regarding the upcoming away fixture. “It’s another game in the schedule,” Coppell remarked. “Whatever happens tomorrow, our season is not going to finish. It won’t be definitive as to where we are going to finish this year, but it’s significant. It is a question of earning scoring opportunities and we will do that through playing well and working hard.”

Published: Sun Feb 18, 2018 12:58 PM IST


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